This Land Is Mine

I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential-possible-maybe- feature film, Seder-Masochism, but it’s the first (and so far only) scene I’ve animated. As the Bible says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide

Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!

Early Man


Early Man
This generic “cave man” represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant. Whoever they were.




What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

Ancient Egyptian



Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…




….Assyria controlled it other times.




The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.




Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.





Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!




No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.




Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)




More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.


Hebrew Priest

Hebrew Priest
This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.


Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…




….the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…




….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.





Arab Caliph
Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.




After Crusaders went a-killin’ in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Egyptian Mamluk



Mamluk of Egypt
Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.


Ottoman Turk


Ottoman Turk
Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.




A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.



The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.




The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….

European Jew/Zionist


European Jew/Zionist
Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…




….so were the people that lived there. Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

State of Israel



Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/TerroristState of Israel
Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.


Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist
Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?

Angel of Death




and finally…

The Angel of Death
The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.


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1,012 comments to This Land Is Mine

  • Sairjohn

    Almost perfect! Just two repairs: Assyrian should come after Israelite, and a Persian should be between the Babylonian and the first Macedonian.

  • Victor M. Uranga

    Excellent depiction of the chronic problem caused by territorial disputes mixed with religion and politics local and international and out of control egos.

  • jjoh.y eduard

    Eh uaxho repiola amewo

  • jjoh.y eduard

    Que honda camaradas?? Estes video expresa como a Palestrina lo dejaron en sillas de ruedas y a binnladen sin tunica y aparte boca perdio 3 a 0 con atl de rafaela y bianchi se tiene q ir para mi. Aguante chipre y el pescado da cancer.

  • I always thought that Saddam Hussein was no different than any other ruler in Mesopotamia in the past 5,000 years.

    Would have helped if Cheney/Rumsfeld had not kicked all Arabists out of the State Department (or had not completely ignored them) — anyone with half a brain could have seen that toppling Saddam would bring civil war and destabilize the region; not to mention that Saddam and Iran kept each other occupied so we didn’t have to.

    Now we have our “ally” Turkey supporting Islamists in Libya, of all things.

    None of this will end well — much as your work predicts.

  • Leopoldo Gatica

    Holy Land may very well owe its name to the fact of have been irrigated with the blood of countles martyrs!

  • what Chaim said

    Half truths = Worse than lies

    + European Jews are not the only Jews, jews arrived from Yemen and many different places that are not Europe even before the Zionist movement took off..

  • annemarie

    As a Christian American, I admit not having any knowledge of this history. I would have liked a timeline or some dating on the descriptions above. Great work. No idea how accurate this is, but a great way to inspire research.

    Very good job

  • Brilliant!!! Added to the music/video section of the Apocalypti Library at the End of the World:

  • shruti

    i just love your video……it doesn’t matter in what sequence civilizations are appearing……it holds a MUCH GREATER MESSAGE THAN THAT!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wombat

    Das ist echt ein sehr tolles Filmchen größten Respekt. Absolut minimalstisch aber trotzdem präzise auf den Punkt gebracht.

  • Kenneth McKlinski

    Great composition in your distinctive style to present a complex story that spans centuries. One question that I had was whether giving both sides in the most modern conflict AK-47 rifles was an artistic decision or a technical one in not having the Israeli side’s arms that would have been distinctive to their forces (M-16s or uzi’s).

    Keep up the excellent and thought provoking compositions with your work!


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